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Return of the King: LeBron going back to Cleveland

The Chosen One is going home.

LeBron James had his ups and downs in Cleveland, nothing lower for fans than his departure in 2010. On Friday, James agreed to return to the Cavaliers and try to bring the city a championship.
Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

After weeks of indecision that brought NBA free agency to a grinding halt, LeBron James has made his decision. And it comes as somewhat of a surprise.

In an essay written for SI.com, James announced Friday that he plans to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, returning to the team that originally drafted him after a four-year stint with the Miami Heat. The signing will likely occur officially once the Cavaliers clear out some contracts that will enable them to pay James the maximum amount.

In the essay, James spoke of his commitment and feeling of loyalty to the Ohio region where he grew up.

"My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball," James wrote. "I didn’t realize that four years ago. I do now."

James further explained his decision making process in 2010 that led him to Miami and what was so appealing about the situation in Cleveland.

"When I left Cleveland, I was on a mission. I was seeking championships, and we won two," James wrote. "Our city hasn’t had that feeling in a long, long, long time. My goal is still to win as many titles as possible, no question. But what’s most important for me is bringing one trophy back to Northeast Ohio."

In Cleveland, James joins a young roster that includes standout point guard Kyrie Irving, who recently agreed to an extension with the Cavs. Anderson Varejao, a teammate of James during LeBron's first go-round with the club, remains on the team, and young players Tristan Thompson, Dion Waiters and 2013 No. 1 pick Anthony Bennett help round out the roster.

Of course, 2014 No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins is also the property of Cleveland. However, speculation has already begun that Wiggins could be the centerpiece of a trade that would bring disgruntled T-Wolves star Kevin Love to the Cavs. A trio of Irving, James and Love would make the Cavaliers instant contenders in the Eastern Conference. In the meantime, the Cavs will likely look for some solid veteran pieces to bolster their roster, and the team had previously been linked to James' Miami teammate Ray Allen.

With James' situation now settled, the rest of NBA free agency figures to take off. Chris Bosh, who had been waiting to see where LeBron would play, could be on the verge of signing with the Houston Rockets. Dwyane Wade has yet to make his intentions known, but Miami figures to make his re-signing an even higher priority with James and Bosh now likely on the way out.

LeBron spent his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers. To relive his early years in Cleveland, view the slideshow.